Sunday, January 31, 2010

Locks... not so much

I started practicing lockpicking with a basic set of lock picks. So far I’ve really just been raking and I’ve found that the C rake works best for me. I’ll eventually work up to per-pin picking but for now I happy just having success raking and getting a feel for things.

I’ve been practicing on a cheap padlock I got at a grocery store. A few minutes ago I took a try at my second lock - the deadbolt on my front door. First try took about 30 seconds to figure out the space I could move the rake in. Once I started raking it took about 10 seconds. Thinking I might have gotten lucky I locked it again and it took about 5 seconds to find the working space again and then another 10 seconds to rake it open.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Colo Cage Hunting

I love colo cages because a lot of people think they alleviate the need for cabinets. Just put up four-post racks in your cage and you’re done. The cage gives you all the physical security you need.

I was told the phrase “the cage will keep malicious people from plugging things in”. Aside from the fact that cages can’t sense intent, I don’t think it can keep anyone from plugging things in.

I’d like to tell you a story. The story is about a hunter and his niche - hunting in colo cages. Here’s a photo:


That’s quite a mighty spear he has. Can it penetrate the hearty flesh of your protective colo cage? Let’s take a closer look:

Careful! U3 Poison!

Oooo… looks like U3 Poison. That’s nasty, particularly on Windows systems before Server 2008. Will it have an affect on his game? His quarry today is one of the young of his normal prey, the rackmount server. Perhaps he has a taste for veal:

Isn't it cute?

He stalks his prey into the bush of the cube prairie. Outside its normal protective cage the little one is even more vulnerable. Our hunter attacks!

He pounces!

Quite a nail-biter! Will the hunter get to eat or will the young one escape to live another day?

It's a kill!

Looks like our hunter was too fast. Would the little one have survived had he been in his cage? Seems doubtful. That spear is pretty long and could be even longer. This one was rather “field expedient”. He could possibly keep a collapsible, elastic-corded tent pole on his survival pack (netbook bag). What if the U3 poison wouldn’t work on the larger beasts? Many of those larger beast have an unused but enabled second network interface. Many beasts will react to a new ethernet link by asking for DHCP. Other beasts might have a firewire orifice which bypasses their immune system.

If you tend to beasts like this, keep the hunters at bay. Put cabinets in your cage or spay/neuter them using connectors with the cables clipped off. It’s even possible to find chastity belts for yours.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Copying Windows Binaries

Maybe this is piracy, maybe it’s not. I have a tool installed on my computer and when new programs are installed it discovers them and pops up a lovely prompt asking if I will allow the executable to be copied to some computer somewhere. I haven’t looked into it deeply but it doesn’t seem to be aware of software licenses and whether the license for that binary allows for it to be redistributed. Maybe it is and maybe it’s not. It doesn’t seem like the tool is based on some kind of prior agreement between the tool author and the owners of each and every software package that it’s prompted me to allow copying their binaries. If it did, it doesn’t seem like it would need to ask me if it’s okay, except to honor my privacy. Maybe this copying falls under “Fair Use” or maybe it’s just not worth suing over. Maybe it’s piracy and I’m an accomplice.

The tool in question seems to be an inherent feature of Windows 7. It may have been in Vista, which I skipped. If I recall correctly the prompt says it’s part of Windows Defender which I believe is part of Windows security. The obvious conclusion is that it’s grabbing the file to analyze it for malware. If it is, it seems like it could just run a few different cryptographic hash functions over it and if any one of them differ, then it copies the file. I don’t think it’s doing that because I’m sure I’m not the first person to install the latest Acrobat Reader appropriate for my platform. What are they doing with them? Maybe we help them collect binaries for competitive analysis and it’s not just strictly for security.

Maybe it isn’t enforceable or no one would dare sue Microsoft, but it seems to me like I’m violating someone’s copyright or license.

GPEN Certified

I just passed my GPEN at 94%. Wewt.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chinese Server

I need to get a server in China. Then if I hack something or use it as a phishing site people will just assume the big, mean, Chinese government is behind it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Have Comments Now

Sorry about that, Richard. I’ve wanted to have a comment system for a while but tumblr doesn’t have built-in support for it and I was just lazy. I had to switch templates or hack up the HTML and I really want nothing to do with HTML.

Monday, January 11, 2010

On Being a Bastard

On Being a Bastard

I’ve probably been kicked out of #perl by mst. I also probably deserved it.

Most technical discussions of security are in a context with no practical constraints.

In practice you have constraints you have to work around. You have a limited budget, limited man-hours, user requirements. All of these affect the security-effort and security-usability curves.

For every security policy and tool you want to implement you have to weigh the effort and usability affects against the security it will offer, and you have to understand the needs of your users as part of that.

It Wasn't Me, It Was the Seeder Worm

The media cartels like to hold the user of an IP address liable for any file sharing done through that IP. So if someone breaks into your WiFi and runs bittorrent it’s your fault. To some degree I believe that it’s the responsibility of the individual to secure their network that problem is basically intractable. At any rate, you could have DMCA invoked on you for whatever happens on your assigned IP address. I’m fairly sure the legality of this is debatable, especially looking at the response templates provided by the EFF for TOR users, but I’m a hacker not a lawyer.

Who’s liable if my server gets infected with Slammer or Conficker? It came to my system from some other system. Shouldn’t the owner of that IP be liable? I haven’t heard of any legal pursuit to that effect. It would seem that if you get infected with a worm it’s not your fault and you won’t be held liable.

To put this in perspective, if someone gains access to your network and uses it for file sharing you’re liable because you control the security of your network. If your system gets a worm and is infecting other systems on the Internet you’re not liable, even though you control the security of your server. Worms cost definite, calculable loss of revenue. File sharing may cause loss of revenue but no one’s really sure and there’s no way to know much.

What if the next big worm surreptitiously installs a minimal bittorrent client. It then randomly grabs one of the top 100,000 torrents from on of the top 50 torrent sites and runs it to seed? What if the next java plugin/flash/acrobat/Active X exploit did the same? What if this seeder tool was created as a Metasploit payload?

Are you liable for file sharing because you got infected with malware?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Avatar in sphincter-puckering IMAX 3D

Saw Avatar again, this time in IMAX 3D. If you haven’t seen Avatar and have access to see it in IMAX 3D (not just regular 3D or regular IMAX) I recommend doing that first instead of in a normal theater.

The 3D was pretty good. In scenes with a lot of action the 3D seemed to get fuzzy. When a scene had a tight depth of focus it kind of messed with me. I think my brain recognized the 3D and as my eyes searched around they couldn’t bring arbitrary objects into focus (because they were out of focus for the camera).

It was a great movie at a normal theater but the IMAX 3D definitely added a lot. That’s not to say that all movies should be in 3D… there weren’t a lot of things flying at the viewer for 3D shock effect. It was well used.

I think there’s still a lot of work to be done in 3D. The focus issue was often somewhat distracting but I’d say it was worth it.

Anyway, I realized something on this watching: the height of evolution is growing a USB port.